AI is coming – will it help or hinder the candidate experience?

Ai robot bot saying 'hello world'

AI is advancing at a startling pace and the lines between the real and technical world are blurring. As we drive towards the Fourth Industrial revolution there’s a very real fear that human job security could be compromised.

Undeniably, AI will bring advancements that will change the way we work. UK think-tank Future Advocacy estimates that 20% of all jobs are at “high risk” of being automated. The rise of automation is reshaping the workplace with many believing it will have a big impact on their ability to earn a living.

Predictions from The World Economic Forum1 suggested that the human share of labour will drop from 71% to 58% by 2025, whilst machines and algorithms will increase their contribution by an average of 57%.

AI’s growth within the recruitment space has been no surprise, as it steps in to help recruiters tackle some key challenges:

  • It is becoming harder to find and engage skilled talent.
    – Low unemployment in many markets and acute skill shortages have created highly competitive markets.
  • Identifying “Best Fit” candidates.
    – Recruiters are saying that the screening of candidates, to identify those most suitable to the opportunity,  is becoming the hardest part of their job.
  • Removing manual tasks.
    – Despite the benefits of Applicant Tracking Systems recruiters still have to manage high volumes of manual tasks.
  • Tackling bias.
    – Many organisations are aware of the importance of diversity recruiting, so identifying and removing any bias in the process is essential.

Thankfully for recruiters, the demand for human skills is not in decline.

Randstad’s research found that 82% of applicants said the ideal interaction with a company is one where innovative technologies are used behind the scenes and come second to personal, human interaction2. People want the benefit of automation, but not at the expense of being treated like a number!

Data has a better idea image over city sign
Photo by @franki on unplash.com

AI tools can sift through huge amounts of data, automating tasks and free up time for a more accurate human interaction.

If this is used to provide a more personalised, “human-centric”  interaction, it will no doubt lead to better engagement with highly valued candidates.

 

AI will certainly change jobs by removing low-value tasks and improving decision making, but it will not replace them. In this sense, AI won’t take the human touch out of recruitment. It’ll shine a light on it.

Recruiters can harness AI to speed up the recruitment process.

One of the most obvious benefits of AI technology is the capacity to work much faster than humans.  By streamlining or automating time-intensive tasks, AI allows recruiters to be far more responsive, productive and efficient when screening and processing applications.

The use of chat-bot technology is also on the rise across several industries, predominantly in sales and customer service arenas. Bots have proven to be four times more productive and save customers 75% of their time during these interactions 3. In the recruiting world, bots can handle mundane day-to-day hiring tasks – allowing recruiters to focus on activities that only humans have the capacity to do.

Candidates also frequently criticise employers for a lack of responsiveness and for failing to keep them updated. In fact, this is a primary reason why applicants drop out of the hiring process4 (closely followed by a lack of personalisation). The use of AI, such as chat bots or other virtual assistants, could provide candidates with more a more reponsive and engaging experience.

Removing Unconscious Bias.

Companies with the highest level of diversity in executive teams were 33% more profitable in comparison to their non-diverse competitors5.

Whilst many companies hold the belief that their recruitment process is fair and free from bias – the reality is unconscious bias is constantly hindering the desire to build a diverse and inclusive workforce.

Pressure to fill vacancies and the lack of robust objective assessment processes can lead to poor hiring decisions being made and to a “mirroring” effect, where hiring managers make decisions based upon their own preferences (some of which will introduce unconscious bias).

AI provides the opportunity to develop highly accurate assessment techniques as large volumes of unstructured data can be analysed to provide better indicators of success, whilst identifying where bias exists.

To harness AI and remove unconscious bias organisations will need to develop rich data pools, allowing the AI to hone in on those skills, competencies, motivations, ambitions and experiences, opposed to biased factors such as gender or race. The larger the data set, the greater the opportunity to challenge bias – giving candidates the fairest chance and improving the quality of hiring decisions.

Personalisation

In our previous blog, we highlighted how candidates are becoming far more like consumers in the way they identify career opportunities and how personalisation was key to building engagement.

Algorithms can delve through many millions of data points, identifying preferences and habits to drive programmatic advertising and content distribution. The ability to place highly targetted and personalised content in front of your target audience can drastically increase the likelihood of candidate engagement.

Moreover, this type of activity can be deployed at scale and be self-optimising, expanding the capability of employers to interact with their marketplace and talent pools.

It signals a significant shift in how many employers will deploy their offer and attract talent in the future.

Whilst many people are concerned about the control of AI and the impact it may have on privacy and broader social issues, there are most certainly opportunities to harness this technology to benefit everyone.

In the competitive and complex world of recruiting there are numerous opportunities for improvements in efficiency and effectiveness. We will have to see how well this new technology is deployed and if it can deliver not only productivity but an improved candidate experience.

One fact we can’t ignore is that the application of AI is growing very quickly.

So…consider this, how would your organisation stack up if your competitor was utilising AI to double productivity overnight? We are only starting to see the impact AI can have but recruitment needs to embrace it soon or face losing out.

 

 

 

 

1 The World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs 2018 report: https://www.weforum.org/reports/the-future-of-jobs-report-2018

2 https://www.randstadusa.com/about/news/an-over-automated-recruitment-process-leaves-candidates-frustrated-and-missing-personal-connections-finds-randstad-us-study/

3 https://www.juniperresearch.com/researchstore/innovation-disruption/chatbots/banking-ecommerce-retail-healthcare

4 Mystery Applicant gathers feedback from millions of job applicants and Hiring Managers each year, providing world-class analytics and decision making tools for Talent Engagement professionals. If you would like to know more about the insights in the article or about our service please get in touch.

5https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbescoachescouncil/2018/03/23/unconscious-bias-in-the-workplace-you-cant-afford-to-ignore-

 

Featured image by @kobuagency on Unsplash.com